ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s oil import bill plunged by around 38 percent during first eight months of the ongoing financial year due to tumbling prices of the commodity in international market.

The country spent $5.1 billion on importing oil products during July-February period of financial year 2015-2016 as against $8.2 billion in the corresponding period of the previous year, according to the latest data of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The government imported petroleum products worth $3.4 billion and petroleum crude of $1.7 billion during the period under review.

The massive decline in oil import bill also reduced the country’s overall imports by 4.95 percent to $28.9 billion during first eight months of the ongoing financial year as against $30.5 billion of previous year. Country’s exports came down to $13.9 billion during July-February (2015-2016) from $16 billion of the corresponding period of the previous year, reflecting a decline of 13.26 percent in one year. Pakistan’s trade deficit widened by over 4 percent to $15.1 billion during July-February.

The PBS data showed that import of food commodities had recorded meager increase of 0.55 percent and surged to $3.5 billion. Import of wheat went down by 100 percent and soybean oil’s import enhanced by 271 percent. Sugar’s import decreased by over 5 percent during the period under review.

Meanwhile, import of machinery registered massive increase of 14 percent. The country imported machinery worth $5.5 billion during July-February period of year 2015-2016 as against $4.8 billion of the corresponding period of the previous year. The government also spent $1.7 billion on importing transport group commodities.

The imports of textile commodities also showed massive increase of 29 percent and were recorded at $2.2 billion. Import of raw cotton went up by 193.57pc.

According to the PBS data, Pakistan spent $4.7 billion on importing agricultural items, $2.6 billion on metal items and $2.9 billion on importing other commodities during July-February.